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Moments before I got The Call.
How I Became A Writer

I’ve spent a lot of time on other authors’ websites. I’ve read their blogs and their bios and I’ve noticed that many have one thing in common—they always knew they wanted to be a writer.

I did not.

Growing up, writing came easily to me. I scored highly on five-paragraph essays in high school, I became an editor for our high school newspaper, and when I got to college I purposely chose courses based entirely on essay exams. I became a journalism major thinking it was a practical way to apply my skills to an appealing career.

Then an interesting thing happened—I didn’t like being a reporter. At first I thought that I simply didn’t like what I was writing about (hotels and real estate), then I began to think that writing was something I was “good at” and not something that I was supposed to pursue.

I must thank my parents for always insisting I find a job that I love. My father, a reluctant accountant, encouraged me to follow my passion and let the money follow. I didn’t love being a reporter. In fact, I felt certain that there was “something” I was supposed to be doing with my life only I had yet to figure it out.

But journalism was all I knew. I had five unpaid internships while at BU, I graduated from the College of Communication, and I had an entire resume filled with reporting experience. I needed a push to leave the industry. And I got one.

The last photo I took that shows the Towers-
approximately one week before they collapsed.
9/11 happened. I lived five blocks from Ground Zero.

For the first time, I took a hard look at my life and realized that I wanted to do something more “important.” So I quit my job, moved back to Philadelphia with my now husband, Jordan, and joined a nonprofit.

I liked my job, I liked the organization, I liked my coworkers, and my work felt valued. I was happy.

Then, while planning my wedding, I began to have silly nuptial-themed dreams. They were vivid and typical—until one night. I woke up having dreamt that I was the author of a series of young adult novels based on my experiences in middle school. I dreamt the concept for more than three books and it all felt so real.

I immediately told Jordan who looked at me, tilted his head and said, “Don’t you remember that psychic?”

I hadn’t. Until then.

Me in front of the psychic's store.

A few years ago, when we were still living in Manhattan, we took a vacation across New England. We stopped in Salem, Mass., home of the witches, right after Halloween. I wanted to see a psychic (when in Rome, right?). It was the first and only time I’ve ever been to one. I was skeptical, so I sat down determined to be vague. I told the psychic that I wanted to know about my career. The first thing she said was, “You’re a writer.” A little surprised, and still cautious, I told her I was a reporter who wrote about “business.” The psychic confidently sat back in her chair and said, “No, no, I don’t see that. You’re an author. You write books, little books, like children’s books.”

I had completely forgotten the entire visit until Jordan reminded me. And I became convinced that it was “a sign.” I vowed to write the novels I dreamt of as soon as we returned from our honeymoon.

I finished my first novel in the spring of 2005. Knowing absolutely nothing about the publishing industry, I Googled “how to get your book published.” I learned that I needed to find a literary agent, so I went to the bookstore and bought a book on literary agents. The book included several chapters on how to navigate the process and I followed it step-by-step.

Me and Jordan
I started submitting my query letter in June 2005. Two weeks later, I got an agent (seriously lucky, I know) and by July 2005, my book was on submission. To date, that book has yet to sell. However, I went on to sell Amor and Summer Secrets to Kensington Publishing for a three-book deal.

I quit my job at the nonprofit in April 2007 and became a full-time writer. In April 2011, I added another challenge to my resume—I became a working mom when I gave birth to my daughter, Juliet. Now, I balance writing and motherhood, confident that I have finally figured out “what I am supposed to be doing” with my life.

Copyright © 2010 Diana Rodriguez Wallach, All Rights Reserved